How We Give Away 10%
Every month we give away 10% of our income. It's become a habit, but when people ask how we make it work, I have to force myself to remember a time when it wasn't routine. It was scary at first. I recognize that 10% is a big number. We've had plenty of months when it felt impossible, especially in the beginning, but we always go back to King David's wisdom in 1 Chronicles 21:24:
"I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God that which cost me nothing."
Giving 10% requires trust. It makes us rely on God's promise to provide. Ten years into this journey, I can tell you that we've experienced so much of God's faithfulness that at this point, it would be more unnerving for us if we DIDN'T put our first 10% on the altar. He's never let us down. In fact, quite the opposite. Somehow, we've always ended up with more than we need. Here's how we do it:
The first step is to sit down and brainstorm places to give. Get input from your family. Jason and I love involving the kids in this decision. We have 5 places that we invest in regularly. Some months we add a sixth if we know someone, personally, who has a need, or if we stumble upon an organization we're impressed by.
The second AND MOST IMPORTANT step is to set aside your gift of money before you pay any bills. I know, I know....it seems irresponsible, but I promise that if you wait until the end of the month, you'll never find that extra to give away. God called the Israelites to give Him their FIRST and their BEST. He required lambs and goats without blemish, the best oil and wine, the firstborn. Giving from the top shows that we trust Him with everything that's underneath.
We get paid twice a month.
On pay day, I add up my husband's paychecks with mine.
I take the total and multiply by .1
This is our gift.
I write it down and I subtract if from our bank account.
Then I pay my bills.
Then I put money into savings.
Then I figure out what I have left for groceries, needs and fun.
I cannot tell you how this works, I can only say that after a decade of practicing, there is ALWAYS enough left at the end if I do it this way and NEVER enough if I don't.
The third step is to divide that amount between your chosen charities/churches/people from step one. We give to our church on every pay day (twice a month). The other four organizations receive from us once a month, two at the beginning and two at the end. Some places receive the same exact amount every month. Others can vary depending on extra income from Jason's painting side job.
The last step (and my favorite) is to deliver the money to the places where it can get to work.
It's that simple, guys.
I will never stop doing it.
When the numbers at don't add up and we're clearly going to be short, we give 10% and we trust. Here's a life hack that will not fail you:
LET GOD DO THE MATH.
I'm not advocating for reckless living or spending, but I am saying that there's something freeing about living in the upside down Kingdom of God where the first are last, the last are first, the wise are fools and the poor are rich.
It is ABSOLUTELY TRUE that you cannot out-give God. He owns the cattle on a thousand hillsides. (Psalm 50:10) He owns the forests and the stars and every grain of sand on the seashore. In Him there is abundance. If I am IN HIM, I am heir to all He has. I know it makes no logical sense, but here we are, over a decade into this practice and we've never come up short. There is an unexplainable boomerang effect to giving. When you let go at the front end, somehow, you free up space for blessing and favor to find you on the backside. Give it a try. You will not regret it.